Marathon NRA Board Meeting Ends With Few Publicly Announced Changes

9.5-hour meeting spent mostly in closed-door session

Wayne LaPierre

Wayne LaPierre / Getty Images

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A nine-and-a-half-hour-long National Rifle Association board of directors meeting ended Monday night with few publicly announced changes to the leadership or operation of the organization.

The meeting ran almost entirely as a closed-door executive session. Only the very beginning and the very end of the meeting were open to regular NRA members. The session was restricted to board members and select NRA staff. Details of exactly what transpired have not been made public.

When the Washington Free Beacon asked newly elected NRA second vice president Willes Lee about what decisions had been made by the board during its closed-door session or for insight on when those decisions would be made public, he said he could not talk about what transpired and referred further questions about the session to NRA secretary and general counsel John Frazer. When the Free Beacon spoke to Mr. Frazer, he said he could not comment and referred further questions to NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam.

Arulanandam told the Free Beacon "executive sessions are confidential" but did not respond to follow-up questions about whether decisions made during the sessions are confidential and if they will remain confidential or be disclosed publicly in the future.

The NRA did announce the results of its officers election, which appears to have taken place closed-door given that it did not occur during the open session.

"National Rifle Association Executive Vice President/CEO Wayne LaPierre was re-elected unanimously and unopposed by the NRA Board of Directors at their meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., April 29, 2019," a post on the group's American Rifleman website said. "Carolyn Meadows was elected NRA President."

LaPierre said in a statement the vote represented an endorsement of him and his plans for the organization.

"I am humbled by the Board's vote of confidence and its support of my vision for the future," he said. "Together, we will continue to serve our members and advocate for all who believe in the fight to defend our Second Amendment freedom."

Meadows echoed LaPierre's sentiment.

"The Board stands behind Wayne, our members, and the promise of the future of this great Association," she said.

The officers election, in which Meadows replaced ousted former president Oliver North, saw Richard Childress lose his position as NRA first vice president to Charles Cotton. Childress remained on the board, and it was noted in the board's open session that he had circulated a confidential memo from North to the board members. North was also given a lifetime appointment to the NRA's executive council.

The board's ethics committee reported in open session that they had met on Sunday to discuss three cases referred to them. A board member representing the committee said the cases could result in sanctions against the accused or even expulsion from the organization. The names of the accused and the accusations, however, were not made public during the open session.

The ethics and audit committees were also tasked by the full board with reviewing the no confidence resolution calling on Wayne LaPierre and members of the board's audit committee, finance committee, and executive committee to resign. That resolution was referred to the board by NRA members with voting privileges at Saturday's members meeting.

The board also voted to amend the organization's bylaws to require anyone who wishes to be nominated as an NRA board member to have been an NRA life member for at least five years before that point unless a majority of the executive committee votes to make an exception.

The meeting ended with the board announcing that attendance at this year's annual meeting topped 81,000 and that the next board meeting would take place in Anchorage, Alaska, on Sept. 13.

There was no mention during the open session of Monday's meeting of the NRA's top media contractor Ackerman McQueen, the group's lawsuit against them, or any of the accusations of financial impropriety Wayne LaPierre and Oliver North leveled at each other in recent days.

Board members were unresponsive to questions about what transpired during the executive session during breaks throughout the day and as they streamed out of the JW Marriot's White River Conference Room at the end of the day. Board member Allen West, however, did express regret about at least one portion of the meeting on his Facebook page afterwards.

"I wish we could have delivered on what our NRA members asked of us in the resolution they referred to the Board of Directors," he wrote. "The NRA and our Second Amendment is greater than any one person. It's about the spirit of those Patriots who took the field on April 19, 1775 at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge."

It remains unclear what, if any, actions the NRA board took during its long closed-door session. It remains unclear when, if ever, that information will be made public.

Stephen Gutowski   Email Stephen | Full Bio | RSS
Stephen Gutowski is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He founded his own site as a junior in college and has been writing about news and politics since that time. He spent 4 years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. His email address is Gutowski@FreeBeacon.com. His twitter handle is @StephenGutowski.

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